SOUTH AFRICA: BOWHUNT: 4th Trip To Limcroma Safaris & It Just Gets Better Every Time

firehuntfish

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My wife and I just returned from our 6th trip to Africa, and our 4th hunting together hosted by our dear friends at Limcroma Safaris. I have had the privilege of representing Limcroma here on AH.com for nearly 2 years. Even though we regard the Els family and the staff at Limcroma as part of our extended family, we are still, first and foremost, clients not unlike any other guests in camp. And, as a client, I have to say that this trip has been the most challenging, rewarding and genuinely fun of all our hunts to date. My wife Lisa and I experienced a lot of firsts and personal bests on this hunt. Our goals and expectations were exceeded beyond anything we could have imagined!

These days with our trophy room just about full, we primarily target cull and management animals. I also have a personal addiction to hunting the many small predators and varmints that abound in the African bush. My primary goal for this trip was to spot & stalk as much as possible, and hopefully add to our collection of unusual African critters. My wife took some great management animals, and a couple of unexpected trophies as well. Every animal that I was fortunate enough to take was via spot & stalk on open ground. When you spot & stalk in Africa, you must come to the realization that your opportunities will be limited, and lots of luck, patience, persistence, and maybe a touch of skill must come into play for success. I know this going in and I am fine with the odds. For me personally, 1 animal taken via spot & stalk is worth 10 taken from a hide or tree stand. Well, on this trip, the bow hunting gods looked favorably upon me. I had some incredible stalks and encounters, and it was no doubt, one of he most challenging and rewarding hunts of my life as a hunter. I would like to share a few of our best memories with you all....

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My wife Lisa sent the first animal to the salt on our first afternoon with a good management warthog. Old, broken, and short on ivory made him the perfect candidate for the BBQ.
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The next animal to hit the salt was an old gemsbok past his prime and sporting only one horn. It was Lisa's first gemsbok with a bow, and she made a great double-lung shot at 34 yards. We are off to a great start...

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I got on the scoreboard that next evening on a spot & stalk night hunt. I took my first small-spotted genet cat with a bow. I whacked him with a field point 20 yards up in a tree. I used a green Hawglite that attached to my bow. It works great for this type of hunting. They are not a very common encounter, and when you do spot one, they usually don't wait around to see what you plan to do. I got lucky with this one. He will be a cool addition to my collection.
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Lisa had continued success the following morning with a chance to take a old kudu bull. Another great management trophy past his prime, broken horned, and not particularly gifted with genetics. It was her first kudu bull with a bow, and a great compliment to the female kudu she got last trip.

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Me and my warthog saga: I have taken dozens of warthogs over the years. They are probably my favorite African animal to hunt.... Although I have taken some good ones, a true trophy warthog has eluded me.... Until this trip.... We were invited to hunt a neighboring farm where the land owner had been seeing several monster hogs. He wanted them gone, and we did our best to oblige. I was fortunate enough to shoot this behemoth which is my personal best by far. And best of all, I took him stalking open ground!
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While stalking this farm, I glassed 2 more giant hogs that I could not get close to... We went back that afternoon and set up a brush blind for Lisa near a water hole. The plan worked and Lisa was able to arrow another giant. He's probably broomed off at least 2" on each side...

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On our last trip in 2013, Lisa took a really nice steenbok with a rifle. I asked our PH Kobus if I could try for one spot & stalk with my bow. He kinda laughed and said that I was welcomed to try.... He told me my best chance would be to sit on a water hole very early or very late and hope to get lucky.... Not interested.... Driving back to camp that evening from the same farm where Lisa killed her big hog, we spotted a good male steenbok in the tall grass about 60 yards off the road. I tapped on the roof of the truck and whispered to them to drop me off about 100 yards down the road. It took me about 20 minutes with daylight fading to crawl within 40 yards to make a kneeling shot through the long grass. My luck continues.....
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One of my favorite things to do on my hunts is to stalk the many river bottoms within the Limcroma properties. They have miles of riverfront between the Limpopo, Crocodile, and Marico rivers. There are lots of species to try for, and it's all free range. I shot this hog stalking the river bank. The tree stand over my shoulder is one of the many stands that I have personally hung on the properties. That stand is my favorite and where I shot my bushbuck last trip.
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The Botswana Impala story: One morning I was stalking the Limpopo River and I glassed a herd of impala feeding on one of the sand bars in the river. There were at least 3 good rams, and they were on our side of the river and fair game. In one of the best stalks of my life, I covered over a half a mile with the last 100 yards on my belly in the river mud. I got to 33 yards and smoked this ram. It never occurred to me that he could (and did) run to the Botswana side of the river..... Not wanting to spend the next year in a Botswana prison, I called Hannes and told him the story. Luckily, he knew the neighbor well, and he gladly recovered the ram which fell just over the bank on his side. The only one of us that immigrated illegally was the impala.

Check out the black nose which is a color variation. He is mixed with a Namibian black-faced impala. Hannes told me that I am only the second hunter in Limcroma history to take an impala ram spot & stalk. And, after scores of blown stalks over the years trying, I can believe it... I was very proud of this one!
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Another of the unusual critters on my list was the springhare. For those who have never heard of them, a springhare is a rodent that looks like a cross between a rabbit and a mini-kangaroo. They are not rare, but I never managed to get a shot at one until this trip. I shot one for a mount, and then a couple of more for the tracker's dinner. They are faaaaast!
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During one of Lisa's sessions in the hide, they saw a blue wildebeest that looked hobbled. Although he looked to be healthy, he apparently had broken his lower leg at some point and it healed crooked. Hannes put him on the hit list if we could get him. That afternoon, we split up and Lisa and our PH Kobus sat in the hide where they had seen him earlier. I stalked another section of the concession where he had been seen around lunch time. I got lucky and found him trailing behind the herd. That gave me the chance to sneak in and get a bowshot.... My luck continues.....
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One of Lisa's ongoing quests is to try for all of the smaller antelope species. Hannes has a non-native herd of 10 head of springbok on the bow hunting property at the main camp. Lisa diligently and patiently hunted 3 days until she finally got her shot. She made a perfect 25 yard shot and her ram fell in sight.... Now there are 9....
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Lisa and Kobus were stalking along the Marico River property hoping for a bushbuck, and ran into this old warrior. Apparently, this was the year of the giant warthogs for us. We had endured a 4-safari drought of trophy hogs, but when it rains it pour I guess..... He was not close enough for a bowshot, but my wife never met a rifle she didn't like.... She picked up Kobus' .243 and dropped him in his tracks! His warts are as wide as his tusks!
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Another of the small antelopes we wanted was a duiker. Although the plan was for Lisa to hunt him, she was seeing nothing but females and small males every time out. Of course, the one evening she stayed at camp, Kobus and I spotted a good male at sunset.

I must say that this was probably the best (luckiest) shots I have ever made in my life. By the time we stalked in it was "dark-thirty". It was so dark that my range finder would not read. I asked my trusty PH Kobus to range him. He said, "45 meters, let her rip..." I said, "He's facing us, can't we get any closer?" He whispered, "No, shoot him in the chest... Your a bow hunter, make the shot!" I settled the pin on the smallest and dimmest target of my bowhunting career, and I watched the lighted nock of my arrow arc beautifully in the evening sky and whack him square between the shoulder blades!

It gets better....We made our way to the spot and only needed to track him about 10 yards. However, all the while, a herd of cape buffalo were tracking us! While we were high-fiving, and slapping each other on the back, one of the bulls snuck in and mock charged us. We sprinted back to the truck with the angry bull on our heels... We had to use the truck as a shield. I threw the duiker in the back and jumped up on the railing. Kobus fired up the truck and sped back to the road with the big bull in tow. It will no doubt be the most memorable duiker I ever take in my life!
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On the last morning, I wanted to hunt the Limpopo River just one more time to see if I could better my bushbuck from 2 years ago. I was dropped off just after sunrise and I had a gentle breeze in my face. I thought it might be worth it to sneak over to a gut pile that was placed for some other hunters that had been trying for cats and honey badgers earlier in the week. I hoped that there might still be a small cat or jackal hanging out past his bed time. So, I get to within a hundred yards, and I can't believe what I am seeing! The holy grail of African predators (for me) was chewing on a bone and oblivious to me. A big brown hyena, which is a rare sight let alone in the daylight, was there for the taking. I'm already writing this off as a failed stalk. There is no way I am going to close the distance and not get picked off. I had no cover, the ground was bone-dry, noisy, and covered in acacia thorns. But, the bowhunting gods were smiling down on me this trip, so I figured what the heck...

By some miracle, I managed to crawl to 40 yards, crunching all the way. He was too involved in his carcass to pay me any attention. 40 yards was good enough for me... I watched my arrow disappear into the thick fur behind his shoulder, as he whirled around and ferociously bit at his flank where the arrow had stung him. He spun around several times and fell to the ground. I yelled so loud that they probably heard me back in camp. The one animal that had eluded me for so many dark, cold nights sitting in a hide over bait all night was mine! Nobody has taken a hyena with a bow before at Limcroma, and certainly not out of a hide in daylight on open ground... This was a very special trophy for me that I will never forget. I will take luck over being good all day long... Unfortunately, browns are not exportable to the U.S., so we will mount him for the new lodge. I hope to visit him there next trip!
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We closed out the last afternoon of our safari with as much success as it began. Lisa and Kobus sat in a brush blind near a wheat field where so many bushbucks have been seen coming out just before dark. I hunted a different section of the river hoping for my chance at another bushbuck or whatever else may present itself.

I was putting a stalk on a good warthog when I caught a glimpse of vervet monkeys coming toward me at about 100 yards. I managed to slip next to a big deadfall without being picked off. I could see glimpses of paws and tails coming down the trail. I came to full draw and waited for what seemed like an eternity for the scout to pass by. I whacked him at 30 yards and he collapsed without a sound.... I went straight back to the warthog who never picked his head up. 10 minutes later, I arrowed the hog and finished out the trip with a cool double-header.

I have taken 2 baboons with my bow, and Lisa got a vervet monkey with her bow last trip. This was my first vervet with my bow, and getting him on open ground was pretty special and lucky. Anyone who has tried for them will tell you that monkeys and baboons are probably the hardest animals in Africa to kill with a bow. They have incredible hearing and eyesight. Killing one from a hide is lucky enough let alone on open ground. But, with the way my luck was running this hunt, no problem!
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I can't forget to mention one other cool little bonus we got to experience on this trip.... I never pass up the chance to fish (hence: Firehuntfish).... One afternoon we made camp near the river to have a shore lunch. I was going crazy watching all of these fish boil on the surface. Kobus, our PH, is also an avid fisherman. He told me that they were African flathead catfish that get trapped in the pools during the low water periods. Before I could get the words out, he produced a travel rod & reel he had stashed in the truck and we baited up with warthog liver.

We had a blast catching a releasing several until our tracker Steven asked Kobus in Afrikaans why the heck we were throwing these fish back? Steven apparently loves them and wanted them for dinner. We happily obliged, and he got to keep a few. Kobus even let him fish while we ate lunch.
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On the last evening of this trip, I made a special effort to spend the last few minutes of the day just taking in the sights and sounds of the African bush. I sat down on a grassy bank atop a group of blue-winged storks fishing in the shallow pools below. Hornbills and go away birds called overhead, and I could hear the barks of bushbuck and baboons faintly in the distance. Which each breath, I could taste the river and the grass.

As the sun sank slowly toward the horizon, the bright blue was being replaced by subtle hues of orange and red. It truly was an intoxicating combination for the senses. Our 11 days in camp went by in a blink. I reminded myself of the new friends and memories that were made, and I hoped that it wouldn't be too long before we could return to do it all again.
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Words cannot express the awesome experiences we had on this trip. I made some good shots, we took some great trophies, and had incredible encounters. I will gladly take the luck that I had all day long! Our PH Kobus and tracker Steven did an incredible job and worked their butts off for us. We hunted hard all day, and then went out again at night for a few hours almost every night. They were always ready and enthusiastic! I think we took a total of 22 animals, not including the guineas, francolins, and catfish.... The entire camp staff was wonderful as always. Thespina & Marcel's cooking spoiled us. I know that I brought home a few extra pounds.

And lastly, a very special thanks to Hannes and the entire Limcroma staff for exceeding our expectations once again. Their collective effort and attention to the small details really made a difference and I could not be more proud to represent an outfit like this.
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I'm not short.... Hannes is a giant!
 
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vancewalker007

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Love those guys at Limcroma, those are some giant wart hogs. What a fun trip you must have had. Thanks for the report.
 

firehuntfish

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Here's a few of the better pictures of the local flora & fauna...
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npm352

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A brown hyena with a bow is so bad a$$! I shared a camp with Limcroma PH Aart in the Omay in Zim this summer. He had a client he took there. Good guy.
 

CAustin

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Dan great story and pictures, thanks for sharing!
 

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Thanks for sharing. Those are some GREAT pigs. I had hoped to take one my last trip, but never saw a big one. Saw hundreds over the course of my my hunt... Some great photos too. Love what you put together for us. A brown Hyena in daylight is about as lucky as you can get. Congrats on a great trip. Bruce
 

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Neat hunt great photos .
Love your Kudu close ups .
Cheers Dory .
 

firehuntfish

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It's nice to have a Forum like this to be able to share your experiences with others who have been there and done that... Lot's of our non-hunting friends can't really appreciate the concept.... Thanks for all of the kind comments.

Butch, are you going back over anytime soon? I had a camp full of Texans on this trip that could give the Irish drinking lessons....They were professional fun-havers for sure.. I honestly don't know how they got up and hunted every morning...:D Beers:
 

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Luck wins out any day of the week.
Some very nice trophies.

Thanks for sharing your success.
 

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Congrats Dan, looks like you had fun, and nice trophies!
 

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Awesome Hunt !! Incredible success on some fantastic trophies.
 

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Hi Dan, It was very nice meeting Lisa and you at Limcroma earlier this month. One of the great things about hunting is meeting new people to build relationships/ friendships that can last a lifetime. I wish I could have stayed longer to see all those great trophies you both got. For the rest of the guys reading this post, Dan is one hellava shot maker. I saw the results of his shooting on a couple of small cats that was UnFreakingBelieveable. Lisa was telling me how you have literally destroyed arrows that you struck in the bullseye with other arrows. Now that is accuracy.
I could not believe the quality and of game I saw at Limcroma. They don't get that big by accident - great genes, management and the opportunity to grow to their potential. Not one of the animals I shot was estimated to be under 8-9 yrs. old. A couple of them were 12-14 yr old range...The new lodge is a great addition to Hannes vision of consistently improving his Safari operation. Besides now that you don't have anymore room to fit any more trophy's in your own house, there is plenty of space in the new lodge to help fill the walls. LOL. I'm sure he wouldn't mind.
I'm still having dreams of Kevin's huge 46" Cape Buffalo not to mention his 2 sons 40"+ buffs as well. I know where I'm coming back to hunt Buff!!!!

Take care and keep in touch.
 

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It's nice to have a Forum like this to be able to share your experiences with others who have been there and done that... Lot's of our non-hunting friends can't really appreciate the concept.... Thanks for all of the kind comments.

Butch, are you going back over anytime soon? I had a camp full of Texans on this trip that could give the Irish drinking lessons....They were professional fun-havers for sure.. I honestly don't know how they got up and hunted every morning...:D Beers:


I don't have any plans at this time, but I'd surely like to go back in the next few years. If/when I do, you can be sure Limcroma will the outfit anyone else would have to beat.

My next big hunt will likely be New Zealand, but no firm plans for that either.
 

firehuntfish

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Harry,
The trophy quality was truly exceptional for all of the hunters in camp that week. It is a testament to Hannes' and his PH's dedication to his management practices. They also acquired some great new concessions this year that had not been hunted in recent years. I believe this year will go down as an exceptional season for quality trophies across the board for all the guests. As for my shooting, I must admit that I was in the "zone" this trip. I made some good shots, but I think luck had a small part in there as well...

You are spot on about the opportunity to meet new folks and create relationships while on safari...My favorite part about safari besides the actual hunting, is getting the chance to meet like-minded folks from all over, and share a cocktail, a fire and a few laughs. Lisa and I have made countless new friends while in camp over the years, and we've met some I "interesting" characters as well.... Like it or not, you are now part of the extended Limcroma family...:D Cheers:

Butch,
New Zealand would be awesome... Definitely on the bucket list for us too... If you ever make it back to South Africa, there is a brand new lodge and thousands of acres of new concessions for you to enjoy. I know Hannes would love to have you back for another hunt.(y)
 

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Congrats Dan, I love hearing your hunting stories! They say while some one has bad warthog hunting...some one else is having success, you sir are making up for my failures.
 

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Dan awesome hunt, and as usual excellent write up and photos . congratulations to you and Lisa on an awesome adventure. Forrest
 

rinehart0050

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Congrats on another great safari! especially that hyena!

Looking forward to Limcroma next year!
 

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Impressive shooting.

Congratulations on some nice trophies.

Spot and stalk on the hyena.(y)
 
 

 

 

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